SBB Ce 6/8 III - SBB Ce 6/8 III

Ce 6/8 III
Be 6/8 III
Numbering: 14301–14318
13301–13318 (from 1956)
Number: 18
Manufacturer: SLM (mechanical part),
MFO (electrical part)
Year of construction (s): 1926–1927
Ausmusterung: until the end of April 1977
Axis formula : (1’C)(C1’)
Length over buffers: 20'060 mm
Service mass: 131 t
Friction mass: 108 t
Top speed: 65 km / h
75 km / h (from 1956)
Hourly output : 1'810 kW (2'260 PS) at 35 km / h
Continuous output : 1,190 kW (2,200 PS) at 38 km / h
Driving wheel diameter: 1'350 mm
Impeller diameter: 950 mm

The Ce 6/8 III (later Be 6/8 III ) is a freight train - electric locomotive of the SBB for heavy traffic, especially on mountain routes like the Gotthard Railway . Like its predecessor, the Ce 6/8 II, the locomotive was given the nickname “ Crocodile ”, which is well known beyond the borders .


In the mid-1920s, the SBB needed high-performance freight locomotives in the Central Plateau. With the Ce 6/8 II the SBB wanted to fulfill this task. The fact that the locomotive reached the Gotthard Railway almost immediately after delivery was determined by the global political situation.

The SBB Ce 6/8 II locomotives, which were commissioned from 1919 to 1922, proved their worth in daily operation. Unlike the Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon-Bahn , which found a more efficient replacement for their Be 5/7 in the form of the Be 6/8 bogie locomotives with single-axle drive without drive rods with the axle arrangement (1'Co) '(Co1') ' SBB decided to continue building similar locomotives with the three-part, articulated box design while maintaining the 1'C + C1 'axle sequence. A further construction of the Ce 6/8 IIwas not pursued as the new machines were to be more powerful and less complex. Above all, the SBB wanted to do without the complex rod drive of the Ce 6/8 II . In the meantime, the Winterthur helical rod drive had proven itself in locomotives at home and abroad ( Fc 2x3 / 4 , Ee 3/4 and Ge 6/6 I ). The SBB accepted the concerns about the tensile and compressive forces occurring in the drive rod due to vertical vibrations, since the specifications stipulated a maximum speed v max of 65 km / h.

With its decision, BLS proved to be extremely innovative at that time as well as later, as the locomotive they ordered had a significantly more modern mechanical concept as well as a higher output of 4,500 hp (3,300 kW).

Specification book

Data sheet (technical description and photo) from SLM

The SBB required the industry to meet the following specifications: On a gradient of 10 ‰, freight trains of 1,400 t must be able to be pulled at 35 km / h. With ramps of 26 ‰ 520 t were required at 30 km / h.

Ordering and project planning

The SBB placed the order again with the same suppliers as the Ce 6/8 II :


Commissioning took place in 1926 and 1927 with nine machines each. The first four locomotives (14301-14304) were assigned to the Olten depot . The fifth Ce 6/8 III , however, already went to the Erstfeld depot . All of the following locomotives also landed directly in Erstfeld. The Olten depot had to hand over its four machines to the Biasca depot as early as 1927 , where they were followed by the numbers 14305–14309, which means that half of the locomotives actually intended as Mittelland freight locomotives were located on both sides of the 26 ‰ ramps of the Gotthard line .


Boxes, machines, apparatus

Like the Ce 6/8 II , the locomotive consists of two narrow, low stems and a normal-wide and normal-high box in between, which are articulated together. The two stems are higher and a little wider. This fact led to the somewhat more brawny appearance of this locomotive compared to the Ce 6/8 II . The machines are also slightly longer than their predecessors. The Ce 6/8 III was equipped with sleeve buffers from the start .

The mechanical part

landing gear

In each of the two stems there are three drive axles coupled with coupling rods and one running axle in a Bissel frame .

Traction transmission

The transmission of the tensile and impact forces takes place from the drive axles to the frames of the stems. From there, the forces are passed on to the draw hooks and buffers. On the other hand, the forces are transferred from one drive frame to the other via a spring-loaded close coupling . In contrast to other locomotives of the "crocodile" type, the central box is not used to transfer power from one motor frame to the other (see also the locomotive box in this article). The close coupling also acts as a cross coupling and in particular improves the run-in of the trailing motor frame in curves.


In each frame of the stem, two drive motors are installed between the first and second drive axles. The transmission from the countershaft takes place with a helical rod (Winterthur helical rod drive) , which acts on a pin. This pin sits on the coupling rod from the third to the second drive axis diagonally above the crank pin of the third drive axis. The drive force is then transmitted from the second drive axle to the first drive axle with a further coupling rod.

Locomotive box

The locomotive body was designed in three parts. The two outer parts (stems) were firmly connected to the engine frames. The actual box in the middle is supported by spherical pivot pans on pivot pins in the drive racks. One swivel pan is immovable, the other can be moved lengthways so that no tensile or compressive forces are transmitted via the central box (see tensile force transmission in this article). Furthermore, spring-loaded pressure supports are arranged on both sides of the rotary pans.

The electrical part

Apart from the more powerful transformers and traction motors, the electrical equipment in the decisive parts corresponded to Ce 6/8 II .

The main switch was located in a pressure-resistant, cylindrical oil bucket, which could be triggered via a purely mechanical connection on the driver's desk.

As with the Ce 6/8 II , the step switches were again behind the cab walls. The cam-controlled lever mechanisms with 23 levels were controlled by a servo motor.

Like the Ce 6/8 II , the Ce 6/8 III had an electrical regenerative brake ( recuperation brake ) which feeds the electrical energy generated by the traction motors that act as generators during braking back into the contact line . With the simpler resistance brake that is otherwise used , the energy is given off as heat to the environment via braking resistors arranged on the roof and is therefore lost.

Operational use

SBB Ce 6/8 III 14305 mit Ce 6/8 II 14253 in Stein am Rhein

Planned as freight locomotives for the Swiss Central Plateau, the Ce 6/8 III landed on the Gotthard Railway almost immediately . Half of the locomotives were distributed between the Biasca and Erstfeld depots. But as early as 1930 the locomotives were concentrated in the Erstfeld depot, where, with a few exceptions, they remained stationed for the next 30 years.

In operation, the locomotive proved to be an excellent workhorse for all types of operations. The type of drive chosen gave it a relatively rough driving behavior. That is why it was quickly given the nickname “Berceuse” (rocking chair) by the locomotive drivers in western Switzerland. The Ce 6/8 II with its triangular slotted rod drive was, albeit mechanically more complicated, certainly the better solution, as many other applications of this drive showed in faster running locomotives. This also manifested itself in the fact that the Ce 6/8 III made loud, cracking noises, while the Ce 6/8 II drove along with a soft whirring sound.

After various tests with some freshly revised engines, the locomotives were approved for a top speed of 75 km / h from 1956. However, since the performance did not increase with technically unchanged locomotives, the measure was not necessarily understandable in retrospect. The mechanical elements could handle the increase in speed well, but the main workshop in Bellinzona reported more engine damage.

When the Ae 6/6 appeared on the Gotthard, all the locomotives moved from the Erstfeld depot to the Basel depot . From then on, their locations and missions were very changeable. The depot locations also changed in part. The Ce 6/8 III was used throughout the rest of Switzerland. Like their predecessors Ce 6/8 II , they were used from 1970 for the gravel hoists for motorway construction until they were replaced by the Ae 6/6 that had meanwhile been released on the Gotthard.

Unlike the Ce 6/8 II , they were never used for shunting. At the end of their career they were still responsible for managing light general cargo trains. In April 1977 the last Ce 6/8 III was taken out of service.

Preserved locomotives

  • 13257: in the Mürzzuschlag Southern Railway Museum
  • 13302: operational with operating group 13302 , a section of the model railway club of the district of Horgen ( MECH ); is under federal monument protection (highest level of protection awarded in Switzerland) [1]
  • 13305: operational at SBB Historic; was redrawn in Ce 6/8 III No. 14305

See also


  • Christian Zellweger (SBB Historic): Crocodile - Queen of the electric locomotives . AS Verlag & Buchkonzept AG, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-909111-19-X .
  • Hans-Bernhard Schönborn: Crocodiles - legend on rails: normal and narrow gauge . Geramond Verlag, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-932785-54-1 .
  • Hans Schneeberger: The electric and diesel traction vehicles of the SBB, Volume I: years of construction 1904–1955 . Minirex AG, Lucerne 1995, ISBN 3-907014-07-3 .
  • Claude Jeanmaire: The electric and diesel locomotives of the Swiss railways, The locomotives of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)

Category: Electric locomotive for alternating current 15 kV 16.7 Hz Category: Motor vehicle (Swiss Federal Railways) Category: Rack locomotive Category: Rail vehicle (Brown, Boveri & Cie.) Category: Rail vehicle (Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon) Category: Rail vehicle (Swiss locomotive and machine factory)


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Directory of cultural assets, 1995 edition